Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Thu, 30 Jun 2022 14:13:31 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Igor Stravinsky - Oedipus Rex (1994) Igor Stravinsky - Oedipus Rex (1994)

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1. Prologue : Verehrtes Publikum
2. Acte 1 : Caedit Nos Estis
3. Sehet Dort Kreon
4. Respondit Deus				play
5. Non Non Reperias Vetus Scelus
6. Oedipus Befragt Den Quell
7. Dedie Exspectamus
8. Dicere Non Possum			play
9. Invidia Fortunam Odit
10. Gloria Gloria
11. Acte 2 : Der Streit Der Fursten
12. Non'Erubescite
13. Der Einzige Zeuge
14. Adest Omniscius Pastor
15. Oportebat Tacere
16. Jez Werdet Ihr
17. Divum Jocaste Caput Mortuum !

Ernst Haefliger - Oedipus
Herta Töpper - Jocasta
Kloth Engen - Teiresias
Paul Kuen - le Berger
Ivan Sardi - Kreon & le Messager

Choeur des Norddeutschen Rundfunks
Choeur de Chambre RIAS
Orchestre Symphonique de la Radio de Berlin
Ferenc Fricsay - conductor, 1960


Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring caused a riot in Paris and Oedipus Rex caused similar outrage when in premiered in 1928. The work is not an opera in the traditional sense but more of an oratorio. The libretto was written by Jean Cocteau and is based on Sophocles original tragedy.

Oedipus, having become king of Thebes by murdering his father marries Jacosta without knowing that she is in fact his mother. When the truth comes out as a result of a curse that has befallen the city, Jacosta kills herself and Oedipus takes out his eyes to wander the land. Here we listen to Oedipus impose self-exile on himself until the conclusion of the work. The entire opera (or oratorio, however you look at it) is sung with the singer’s faces covered with masks. The singers were not to sing to one another but to direct their voices at the audience. This would cut away the individual tragedy and focus more on the fatal elements of the story. This is almost like Petrushka, the same puppet-like fatalistic qualities. In terms of music, Stravinsky is showing quite a bit of his neo-classicist bend here.

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Fri, 05 Aug 2011 18:41:38 +0000
Igor Stravinsky - Shadow Dances (2000) Igor Stravinsky - Shadow Dances (2000)

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1. Stravinsky: Tango	3:27	 
2. Stravinsky: Suite No.1 for Small Orchestra - 1. Andante	1:20
3. Stravinsky: Suite No.1 for Small Orchestra - 2. Napolitana	1:13
4. Stravinsky: Suite No.1 for Small Orchestra - 3. Española	1:09	
5. Stravinsky: Suite No.1 for Small Orchestra - 4. Balalaika	0:59	
6. Stravinsky: Suite No.2 for Small Orchestra - 1. March	1:15	
7. Stravinsky: Suite No.2 for Small Orchestra - 2. Waltz	2:01	
8. Stravinsky: Suite No.2 for Small Orchestra - 3. Polka	0:59	
9. Stravinsky: Suite No.2 for Small Orchestra - 4. Galop	1:49	
10. Stravinsky: Concerto in D for strings - 1. Vivace	5:54	
11. Stravinsky: Concerto in D for strings - 2. Arioso	2:36	
12. Stravinsky: Concerto in D for strings - 3. Rondo	3:17	
13. Stravinsky: Concertino - arr. (1952) of original work for string quartet (1920)	6:20
14. Stravinsky: Octet for Wind Instruments - rev. version 1952 - 1. Sinfonia (Lento - Allegro moderato)	3:54
15. Stravinsky: Octet for Wind Instruments - rev. version 1952 - 2. Tema con variazioni	7:31
16. Stravinsky: Octet for Wind Instruments - rev. version 1952 - 3. Finale	3:18
17. Stravinsky: 3 Pieces for String Quartet - 1. First Piece	0:54	
18. Stravinsky: 3 Pieces for String Quartet - 2. Second Piece	2:16
19. Stravinsky: 3 Pieces for String Quartet - 3. Third Piece	4:11
20. Stravinsky: Praeludium for Jazz Ensemble	1:47	
21. Stravinsky: Ragtime	4:32	
22. Stravinsky: Duet for bassoons	0:42	
23. Stravinsky: Fanfare for a new theatre	0:36
24. Stravinsky: Scherzo à la Russe for Jazz Orchestra	3:44

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra


One of the earliest recordings by Orpheus was a Stravinsky LP of the works Orpheus and Danses concertantes for the Pro Arte label, still available as Deutsche Grammophon 459644 and still a sparkling example of Stravinsky style. This new collection includes works for such diversified scorings as pairs of bassoons or trumpets, wind octet, and full string orchestra. The alert, heads-up style of Orpheus's playing makes all the music come alive, through such a diversity of moods and styles as the early, lightweight Suites for Small Orchestra, the bubbling neo-Baroque cleverness of the Wind Octet, and the serious, thoughtful demeanor of the Concerto in D. Since there is such a variety of Stravinsky moods and styles on this disc, it's equally recommendable as a library supplement for a diehard Stravinsky lover or as an introduction for a Stravinsky neophyte. And it is highly recommended. --Leslie Gerber,


This collection conveniently brings together many of Stravinsky's short pieces, which are occasionally found as filler on other discs or not at all. Count it as a considerable bonus that these often misplaced miniatures receive lively interpretations here, by one of the world's best chamber ensembles. These compositions are valuable for the insights they give of Stravinsky's varied stylistic developments. His neo-Classical period is well-represented. However, some earlier experiments are included, namely the Pieces (3) for string quartet and the Suites (2), in which the composer struggled to find new directions. The Fanfare for a New Theatre, coming late in Stravinsky's career, is the slightest of the selections, but interesting for being his last work associated with ballet. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra adjusts well to the changing styles and approaches each piece with the right balance of seriousness and mischief. Especially engaging are the Tango, the Octet, and the Ragtime for 11 instruments, where the musicians are allowed a bit more room to stretch out. The closing track, Scherzo à la Russe, reminiscent of the "Shrove-tide Fair" in Petrushka, receives the most boisterous performance. The recorded sound is excellent, capturing all the subtle timbral nuances that make this music ingratiating. --- Blair Sanderson, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Tue, 20 May 2014 16:18:17 +0000
Igor Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress (1993) Igor Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress (1993)

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Disc: 1
1. The Rake's Progress - Act I - Scene 1: Prelude
2. The Rake's Progress: 'The Woods Are Green...'
3. The Rake's Progress - Act I - Scene 1: 'Here I Stand...'
4. The Rake's Progress - Act I - Scene 1: 'Tom Rakewell?'
5. The Rake's Progress - Act I - Scene 1: 'Farewell For Now...'
6. The Rake's Progress - Act I - Scene 2: 'With Air Commanding...'
7. The Rake's Progress - Act I - Scene 2: 'Come, Tom...'
8. The Rake's Progress: 'Love, Too Frequently Betrayed...'
9. The Rake's Progress: 'The Sun Is Bright'
10. The Rake's Progress: ''No Word From Tom.'
11. The Rake's Progress: 'I Go To Him.'
12. The Rake's Progress: 'Vary The Song, O London, Change!'
13. The Rake's Progress: 'Master, Are You Alone?'
14. The Rake's Progress: 'My Tale Shall Be Told...'
15. The Rake's Progress: 'How Strange!'
16. The Rake's Progress: 'Anne! Here!'
17. The Rake's Progress: 'Could It Then Have Been Known...'

Disc: 2
1. The Rakes Progress: 'As I Was Saying...'
2. The Rakes Progress: 'You! O Nick, I've Had The Strangest Dream.'
3. The Rakes Progress: 'What Curious Phenomena...'
4. The Rakes Progress: 'Aha!'
5. The Rakes Progress: 'Sold! Annoyed! I've Caught You! Thieving!'
6. The Rakes Progress: 'I Go To Him.'
7. The Rakes Progress: Prelude
8. The Rakes Progress: 'How Dark And Dreadful Is This Place.'
9. The Rakes Progress: 'Very Well, Then, My Dear...'
10. The Rakes Progress: 'I Burn! I Freeze!'
11. The Rakes Progress: 'Prepare Yourselves, Heroic Shades.'
12. The Rakes Progress: 'There He Is. Have No Fear. He Is Not Dangerous
13. The Rakes Progress: 'Gently, Little Boat...'
14. The Rakes Progress: 'Where Art Thou, Venus?'
15. The Rakes Progress: Epilogue 'Good People, Just A Moment:...'

Truelove - Don Garrard, bass
Anne (his daughter) - Judith Raskin, soprano
Tom Rakewell - Alexander Young, tenor
Nick Shadow - John Reardon, baritone
Mother Goose - John Manning, mezzo-soprano
Baba the Turk - Regina Sarfaty, mezzo-soprano
Sellem (Auctioneer) - Kevin Miller, tenor
Keeper - Peter Tracey, bass
Colin Tilney -  harpsichord

The Sadler's Wells Opera Chorus
John Barker - director
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Igor Stravinsky – conductor


This is the original postmodern opera: Igor Stravinsky, in an unlikely collaboration with W.H. Auden, resurrected the centuries-old formulas of opera buffa and delivered a parodistic commentary on them at the same time. Composed in 1951, and based on William Hogarth's satirical engravings A Rake's Progress (published in 1735), this virtuosic three-act comedy is one of the indisputable masterpieces of 20th-century opera, a fresh and unique fusion of familiar musical, theatrical, and scenic elements with a wild libretto and a vivacious score in Stravinsky's most scintillating neoclassical idiom. Recorded in London in 1964--with the composer conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the chorus of Sadler's Wells (he was then 82)--this account remains the standard by which others must be judged. The performance is vital and wickedly dry, with first-class singing from a cast that includes Judith Raskin as Anne Truelove and John Reardon as Nick Shadow. ---Ted Libbey,


Igor Stravinsky completed The Rake's Progress in 1951. The composer had toyed with the idea of writing an opera since he had emmigrated to the United States in 1939. In 1947, his inspiration finally came to him in the form of a set of eighteenth century engravings by William Hogarth depicting the self-ruin of an Augustan rake. Stravinsky asked his publisher to contact W.H. Auden to see if he would be interested in a collaboration on the subject; Auden agreed. Their rapport was immediate, and within a week, the scenes and individual numbers had already been worked out. This was one of the few works by Stravinsky that was not commissioned; he simply wanted to do it.

Auden enlisted Chester Kallman to help hammer out the particulars of the libretto, and Robert Craft acted as the composer's personal assistant. The result is perhaps the last word in neo-Classical opera. While the musical syntax is definitively Stravinskyian, the structure is clearly reminiscent of Mozart, whose operatic touches frequently appear in The Rake's Progress, though morphed into the Russian composer's own harmonic language and counterpoint.

In his leading man, Stravinsky created is a sort of antipode to Mozart's violent and charismatic Don Giovanni. Stravinsky's hero, Tom Rakewell, is the opposite of the Don, whose courage, vigor and decisiveness might have saved the rake from his lazy, floundering self. Throughout the opera's three acts and two and a half hours, Tom always looks for the easy way out, whines, and allows himself to be led about by his late uncle's demonic manservant, Nick Shadow. While the Don is unable to back down from a challenge, Tom is unable to accept one. Even when an affluent existence is handed to him, he cannot take control of his legacy. Shadow convinces Rakewell to squander love and fortune in favor of bad business and unrelenting, tedious hedonism.

The first performance of this opera took place on September 11, at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. Stravinsky conducted; the reviews were mixed. Many doubted the continued relevance of the composer's neo-Classical experiment, which had already seen its definitive statement in his Symphony in C. However, there were several conventions of eighteenth century music that Stravinsky had still left untouched until this point. Recitatives accompanied by harpsichord are a case in point; the composer's distinctive language makes the recycling of a dated convention relevant and striking. Nevertheless, The Rake's Progress was to be the composer's last neo-Classical work.

The Rake's Progress makes so many references to operatic history that one could spend a lifetime garnering the knowledge of opera necessary to understand them all. However, the piece's appeal rests in its effective drama and well-realized characters rather than its stylistic elements or intrinsic cleverness; it is an excellent piece that has become deservedly entrenched in the operatic canon. The best-known excerpt from the work is Anne Truelove's two-part aria, "No word from Tom." As much as any portion of the opera, it represents the freshness and vitality that Stravinsky brought to forms and ideas borrowed from eras past, and it has become a standard concert piece for sopranos. ---John Keilor, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Fri, 09 Apr 2010 15:58:17 +0000
Igor Stravinsky - The Soldier's Tale (JoAnn Falletta) [2015] Igor Stravinsky - The Soldier's Tale (JoAnn Falletta) [2015]

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The Soldier's Tale, Pt. 1
Part I: Introduction: The Soldier's March (Narrator)
Part I: This isn't a bad place to stop… (Soldier, Narrator)
Part I Scene 1: Airs by a Stream
Part I Scene 1: Give me your fiddle… (Devil, Soldier, Narrator)
Part I Scene 1: The Soldier's March (reprise) (Narrator)
Part I Scene 1: Hurray, here we are!… (Narrator, Soldier)
Part I Scene 2: Pastorale
Part I Scene 2: The Soldier looks up… (Narrator, Soldier, Devil)
Part I Scene 2: Pastorale (reprise)
Part I Scene 2: He took the book and began to read… (Narrator, Soldier)
Part I Scene 3: Airs by a Stream: Just to stretch out on the grass… (Narrator, Soldier, Devil)
Part I Scene 3: Airs by a Stream (reprise)

The Soldier's Tale, Pt. 2
Part II: The Soldier's March (reprise): Down a hot and dusty road… (Narrator)
Part II: Now he comes to another land… (Narrator, Soldier)
Part II: Royal March
Part II: They gave the word for the band to play… (Soldier, Narrator, Devil)
Part II: The Little Concert
Part II: There on her bed the Princess lies… (Narrator)
Part II: 3 Dances: No. 1. Tango
Part II: 3 Dances: No. 2. Valse
Part II: 3 Dances: No. 3. Ragtime
Part II: The Soldier holds the Princess close… (Narrator)
Part II: The Devil's Dance
Part II: The Devil's exhausted… (Narrator)
Part II: The Little Chorale
Part II: The Devil's Song: All right! I shall have to wait… (Devil)
Part II: Grand Chorale: You must not seek to add to what you have… (Narrator)
Part II: I have everything… (Soldier, Narrator, Devil)
Part II: Triumphal March of the Devil

Fred Child  - Narrator
Jared McGuire -  Soldier
Jeff Biehl  -  The Devil

Tianwa Yang, Violin
Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players
Ricardo Morales, Clarinet 
Laura Leisring, Bassoon
David Vonderheide, Trumpet 
R. Scott McElroy, Trombone
Robert W. Cross, Percussion 
Christopher White, Double bass
Pamela Berlin, Director
JoAnn Falletta, Conductor


This album, featuring violinist Tianwa Yang and the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players, contains one of Igor Stravinsky’s small-scale theatrical works, The Soldier’s Tale. Stravinsky wrote this work in collaboration with author Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz, and artist Rene-Victor Auberjonois. The work is based in a Russian folk tale by Alexander Afanasyev, and is scored for two speakers, a narrator, and a septet, as well as a non-speaking dance role. Pamela Berlin directs this production, and Joann Falletta is the conductor of the instrumentalists.

There never was much doubt about this one. Naxos lined up its “A-Team” in the persons of Tianwa Yang, violin, and conductor JoAnn Falletta, but trumpeter David Vonderheide (wonderful in the Royal March) and percussionist Robert W. Cross also deserve a hearty shout-out, and the fact that I’m not talking about everyone individually doesn’t make them any less worthy. The Soldier’s Tale is one of the fortunate pieces that (usually at least) either gets done very well, or not at all.

That said, complete performances on disc are rare. Picking a language in today’s international marketplace is one reason, while the annoyance factor of having people talk over the music comprises another. I personally loathe spoken narration over music, and so I greatly prefer the suite, which leaves out all of that talking. Still, you can’t dispute that the team assembled here of Fred Child (Narrator), Jared McGuire (The Soldier) and Jeff Biehl (The Devil) do an excellent job of story-telling; and at the end of the day if you haven’t heard the complete work, then you don’t know The Soldier’s Tale.

It only remains to be said that the sonics are excellent, the dialogue crystal clear without obscuring instrumental detail, while the purely instrumental pieces (the various marches, the Pastorale, the Three Dances) leap from the speakers with all of the rhythmic ebullience that Stravinsky intended. Logical competition comes from Stravinsky’s own Columbia recording with Jeremy Irons in the speaking role(s), but there’s a lot to be said for breaking the text up into parts for the individual characters, especially if it’s going to be adapted to a new language to begin with. So here it is: simply the best if you want the work complete, and in English. --- ClassicsToday,


Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat, here The Soldier's Tale, is a work for narrator and small instrumental ensemble, ideally with dancers. The work was translated into English by Michael Flanders and Kitty Black; the "revised by Pamela Berlin" label here refers to some Americanisms inserted by Virginia Arts Festival director Pamela Berlin, and this American Soldier's Tale may be unique. The story comes from a little Faustian folktale of a soldier-at-war's-end, who accepts a bargain with the Devil, and the direct, at times doggerel-like rhymes of the text do well when given the directness of a translation into vernacular English. You don't get a big-name narrator as you do with some British English-language recordings, but narrator Fred Child, Jared McGuire as the soldier, and Jeff Biehl as the Devil effectively realize Berlin's down-to-earth vision of the work. The biggest name involved in the production is the frequent Naxos-label violinist Tianwa Yang, and she proves an ideal Stravinsky instrumentalist, crisp and sharp. Put it together with the fine work of the little-known Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players under JoAnn Falletta, and with a realization of the voice parts that achieves a kind of American simplicity, and you have a praiseworthy version of this Stravinsky classic at a budget price. ---James Manheim, AllMusic Review

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Sun, 07 May 2017 14:14:14 +0000
Igor Stravinsky - Works for Piano and Orchestra (2015) Igor Stravinsky - Works for Piano and Orchestra (2015)

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Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
1. I. Largo - Allegro
2. II. Largo
3. III. Allegro

Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra
4. I. Presto
5. II. Andante rapsodico
6. III. Allegro cappricioso ma tempo giusto

Piano Sonata in F-Sharp Minor
7. I. Allegro
8. II. Vivo
9. III. Andante
10. IV. Allegro

Alexej Gorlatch - piano
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Alondra de la Parra - conductor


In 2011 Alexej Gorlatch, the soloist on this all-Stravinsky album, won the piano category in the 2011 ARD Music Competition broadcast by BR Klassik Radio. In the finals Gorlatch, a German-based Ukrainian, elected to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3. I reviewed the live recording of that performance released on BR Klassik and wrote “this disc makes for an impressive first look at a remarkably talented performer.”

In both the concert hall and recording studio it’s the works from Stravinsky’s Russian phase The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring that continually take centre-stage. Consequently a significant number of Stravinsky’s high quality works struggle to break through into the active concert repertoire. Certainly I rarely encounter Stravinsky’s Concerto for piano and wind instruments and Capriccio for piano and orchestra and in truth I don’t play the recordings as much as their quality deserves.

During his so-called neo-classical phase Stravinsky’s passion was fired by his study of the scores of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. His ballet Pulcinella composed in 1919/20 for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes draws on the melodies of Pergolesi - although much of the provenance is certainly spurious - and uses Baroque structures with the character of the dance with neo-classical rhythms.

From this neo-classical period emerges his Concerto for piano and wind instruments (1923/24, rev. 1950) a score actually augmented by double basses and timpani. Stravinsky appeared as a concert pianist for a number of years although he persistently suffered from stage fright. In 1924 although his playing was rusty he introduced his Piano Concerto as soloist under Serge Koussevitzky in Paris. It was a work he went on to play numerous times. In the opening movement of the Concerto following the brass-heavy opening Largo dragging and morose Gorlatch springs eagerly into the jazzy syncopated piano writing, lively, attractive and extremely compelling. Gratifying also is the soloist’s sensitive playing of the central movement Largo - determined yet sentimental by turns.

In 1928/29 Stravinsky wrote his Capriccio for piano and orchestra (rev. 1949) another work he planned to play himself in concert. According to writer Steffen Georgi, it seems that here Stravinsky was not only strongly influenced by the music of Weber but also by Tchaikovsky. The Capriccio has been described by biographer Michael Oliver as “a slighter work than the Concerto, but also a more polished one…” It was Stravinsky who introduced the score in 1929 in Paris under Ernest Ansermet. Gorlatch understands the level of irony in Stravinsky’s writing which is evident in the outer movements and his bright, stylish playing always feels responsive. I am especially fond of the jazzy dance themes in the splendid Finale that Gorlatch plays with such lithe vivacity. It feels completely spontaneous.

An early work from 1903/04 written whilst still a law student Stravinsky experienced difficulty with his Piano Sonata in F sharp minor and turned to Rimsky-Korsakov for assistance, becoming his private pupil. Pianist Nicolas Richter, who gave the première in 1905, kept hold of the score which was unearthed in the Nicolas Richter archive in the State Public Library, St. Petersburg. Although naturally derivative of the style of Rimsky-Korsakov and his contemporaries this is a work of easy charm and appealing tunefulness. It deserves the occasional outing. Especially enjoyable is Gorlatch’s playing of the opening Allegro that communicates an abundance of romantic longing. There's also an Andante notable for its calm, reflective character.

Before this recording was planned I’m not sure how often soloist Alexej Gorlatch had played these works. I suspect hardly at all which all adds to the fresh feeling and a sense of a voyage of discovery. Under the baton of Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin provides taut, alert and eminently sympathetic orchestral accompaniment. The unforced pacing selected by Mexican-American de la Parra is commendable and her rhythms sound convincingly sprung.

The technical team excels and evidence of this is there to be heard in the disc's cool, clear and well balanced sonics. The essay ‘Stravinsky and the contrast principle’ was informative and easy to read.

Clearly a name to watch Alexej Gorlatch is an admirable soloist and his talent shines brightly in these Stravinsky works for Sony. ---Michael Cookson,

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Mon, 07 Aug 2017 14:19:36 +0000
Igor Stravinsky – Les Noces – Mass – Cantata (2006) Igor Stravinsky: Les Noces – Mass – Cantata (2006)

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1. Les Noces. Première partie: Premier tableau : Chez la mariée
2. Les Noces. Première partie: Deuxième tableau : Chez le marié
3. Les Noces. Première partie: Troisième tableau : Le départ de la mariée
4. Les Noces. Deuxième partie. Quatrième tableau : Le repas de noces
5. Messe: Kyrie
6. Messe: Gloria
7. Messe: Credo
8. Messe: Sanctus
9. Messe: Agnus Dei
10. Cantate: I. A lyke-wake dirge. Versus 1. Prelude - This ae nighte
11. Cantate: II. Ricercar I. The maidens came
12. Cantate: III. A lyke-wake dirge. Versus 2. First interlude - If ever you gav'st hos'n and shoon
13. Cantate: IV. Ricercar II. Sacred History. To-morrow shall be my dancing day
14. Cantate: V. A lyke-wake dirge. Versus 3. Second interlude - From Whinnymuir when thou may'st pass
15. Cantate: VI. Westron Wind
16. Cantate: VII. A lyke-wake dirge. Versus 4. Postlude - If ever thou gav'st meat or drink
Carolyn Sampson, soprano Jan Kobow, tenor Susan Parry, alto Vsevolod Grivnov, tenor Maxim Mikhailov, bass RIAS Kammerchor, musikFabrik
Daniel Reuss – conductor


This is an outstanding disc of Stravinsky's choral music, beginning with a visceral performance of Les Noces that captures the raw barbarism of the score. If you like Orff's Carmina Burana, this is where it comes from. A series of tableaux depicting a peasant wedding, Les Noces is a revolutionary work--and it sounds it in this blazing performance. The Mass is revolutionary in a different way, returning to earlier music traditions like Gregorian chant. It can sometimes sound too ascetic for its own good, but Reuss's superb chorus and wind band invest it with the warmth and color it needs to make its full effect. The Cantata, written four years later in 1952, is a prime example of Stravinsky's late neo-classicism. Based on medieval English texts, its small chorus and soloists, sparely backed by a chamber band, rebuke the work's neglect through their incisive performance. -- Dan Davis,


Frankly, my dear, it's too pretty -- and while Stravinsky's Les Noces is many things, it's not pretty. It's belligerently uncompromising in its abrasive choral writing, it's aggressively brilliant in its glittering score for four pianos and percussion, and it's powerfully propulsive in its driving polyrhythms. But it's not pretty -- and this performance by the RIAS-Kammerchor and MusikFabrik directed by Daniel Reuss is very, very pretty. There's a richness and a roundness to their choral singing, a polish and refinement to their piano and percussion playing, and a poise and stability to their rhythms that can best be described as pretty. Worst of all, there's none of the sheer ferociousness that is the hallmark of all great performances of Les Noces. This performance is surely well sung and well played, but its ultimate affect is too sweet to be truly creditable. The performances here of Stravinsky's later Mass and Cantate are equally well executed but lack the sense of austere reserve that characterize the great performances of those works. Although Harmonia Mundi's 2006 super audio sound is much cleaner and deeper, the recordings of Les Noces, the mass, and the cantatas to hear remain Stravinsky's own fierce and severe recordings from the '50s and '60s. ---Ja,es Leonard, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Sat, 24 Apr 2010 17:07:47 +0000
Igor Stravinsky – Symphonies: Psalms; In C; In 3 Movements (1999) Igor Stravinsky – Symphonies: Psalms; In C; In 3 Movements (1999)

Symphony in 3 Movements
1) 1. Allegro (10:15)
2) 2. Andante - Interlude (L'istesso tempo) (6:00)
3) 3. Con moto (6:16)

Symphony in C
4) 1. Moderato alla breve - Tempo agitato senza troppo accelerare - Tempo I (9:50)
5) 2. Larghetto concertante (6:30)
6) 3. Allegretto - Meno mosso - Tempo I - Più mosso - Tempo I (4:59)
7) 4. Largo - Tempo giusto, alla breve - Poco meno mosso (7:11)

Symphonie de Psaumes
8) 1. Exaudi orationem meam, Domine (3:30)
9) 2. Expectans expectavi Dominum (6:42)
10) 3. Alleluia, laudate Dominum (11:07)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Sir Georg Solti - conductor


Ever the pragmatist, Stravinsky composed both the Symphony of Psalms and the Symphony in C ‘to the glory of God’, and dedicated them at the same time to the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, respectively. The first of them, with its unique sonorities (the staccato opening chord alone is enough to identify its composer beyond any doubt), and the haunting ‘Allelujahs’ of its finale, is one of Stravinsky’s authentic masterpieces – at once austere and intensely dramatic. This altogether fine performance was one of Solti’s very last recordings, and there surely could have been no more fitting way for him to bow out. The Symphony in C is a rather more impersonal affair, though both the sombre slow introduction - scored for low bassoons and brass alone - to its finale, and its concluding apotheosis, have deep resonance. As for the Symphony in Three Movements, composed in the Hollywood of the early 1940s, much of it sounds disturbingly like self-parody (there are strong echoes of Le Sacre), and its finale is uncharacteristically bombastic. These are virtuoso scores, and they receive appropriate treatment from the Chicago Orchestra, though Solti surely drives the graceful opening movement of the Symphony in C too hard. --- Misha Donat, BBC Music Magazine

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Mon, 26 Oct 2009 12:05:25 +0000
Igor Stravinsky – The Works for Violin and Piano (2011) Igor Stravinsky – The Works for Violin and Piano (2011)

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Suite d'après des thèmes, fragments et morceaux de Giambatista Pergolesi
1. I. Introductione
2. II. Serenata
3. III. Tarantella
4. IV. Gavotta con due variazioni
5. V. Scherzino
6. VI. Minuetto e Finale

7. Le baiser de la fée: Ballade
8. Petrushka: Danse russe
9. Mavra:Chanson russe
10. Pastorale

Le baiser de la fée: Divertimento
11. I. Sinfonia
12. II. Danses suisses
13. III. Scherzo
14. IV. Pas de deux


Duo concertant
1. I. Cantilène
2. II. Églogue I
3. III. Églogue II
4. IV. Gigue
5. V. Dithyrambe

6. Tango
7. Élégie
8. L'oiseau de feu: Prélude et ronde des princesses
9. L'oiseau de feu: Berceuse
10. L'oiseau de feu: Scherzo
11. La Marseillaise (Rouget de Lisle)

12. Le rossignol: Airs du rossignol
13. Le rossignol: Marche chinoise

Isabelle van Keulen – violin
Olli Mustonen – piano


As Brahms had Joachim and Britten had Rostropovich, so, too, did Igor Stravinsky have a significant relationship with a performer who inspired an abundance of music. In Stravinsky's case, it was violinist Samuel Dushkin; the two collaborated together as performers, which resulted in the arrangement of several of Stravinsky's works for violin and piano. It also yielded the masterful and surprisingly lyrical Duo Concertante. The complete works for violin and piano fill two discs on this Newton Classics album featuring violinist Isabelle van Keulen and pianist Olli Mustonen. Equally at home playing standard repertoire as lesser-known modern works, and on the viola as well as the violin, Van Keulen offers up some dazzling, nicely stylized performances of Stravinsky and Dushkin's collaborations. Her playing is fiery and brazen while still delivering some warm subtlety when called for in the score. The lyrical moments in Stravinsky's writing are played with a beautiful legato sound and effortless shifts. The well-known Suite Italienne is performed with moments of austere elegance, breathtaking beauty, and flashiness. Van Keulen and Mustonen form an exceptionally tight-knit ensemble wherein pacing, dynamics, balance, and musical intent are completely unified. Originally recorded in 1987-1988, Newton's sound on this is disc is admirably clean and simple. --- Mike D. Brownell

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Fri, 14 Feb 2014 17:35:28 +0000
Igor Stravinsky – Violin Concerto in D (H. Hahn) [2001] Igor Stravinsky – Violin Concerto in D (H. Hahn) [2001]

1) I. Toccata (4:59)
2) II. Aria I (4:27)
3) III. Aria II (6:06)
4) IV. Capriccio (5:32)

Hilary Hahn, violin
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber
Conducted by Neville Marriner


As for the Stravinsky Concerto, Hahn and Marriner deliver a gorgeously integrated, urbane, and acerbic reading that matches the dash and sparkle of the Perlman/Ozawa/Boston reference version listed above--and then some. Hahn's program notes cogently combine personal observation with succinct musical commentary. Add Sony's ravishing sonics and you've got a major release from one of today's major violinists (you wonder if even Kreisler, Huberman, or Szigeti played so well at 21). But don't forget Marriner and his superb Academy of St. Martin in the Fields: they're anything but your typical backup band! --Jed Distler,,

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Mon, 26 Oct 2009 12:07:00 +0000
Igor Stravinsky: Firebird - Jeu de Cartes (1989) Igor Stravinsky: Firebird - Jeu de Cartes (1989)

1   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Introduction (Molto moderato) 	 
2   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Scene 1: Katchei's enchanted Garden 	 
3   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): The Firebird appears, pursued by Prince Ivan (Allegro assai) 
4   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Dance of the Firebird 	 
5   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): The Firebird is captured by Prince Ivan 
6   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): The Firebird's Pleading (Adagio)	 
7   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Appearance of the thirteen enchanted Princesses 		 
8   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Scene II: The Princesses play with the Golden Apples (Scherzo: Allegretto) 	
9   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Prince Ivan suddenly appears (Larghetto) 	
10   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Round Dance of the Princesses (Moderato) 		 
11   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Daybreak (Piu mosso) 	
12   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Prince Ivan enters Kastchei's Palace. Fairy Carillon. Kastchei's monsters appear and capture Prince Ivan 	
13   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Arrival of Kastchei the Immortal (Sostenuto) 		 
14   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Dialogue between Kastchei and Prince Ivan (Poco meno mosso) 
15   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): The Princesses intercede (Andantino dolente)	 
16   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): The Firebird appears 	 
17   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): The Dance of Kastchei's court, bewitchedby the Firebird (Alleg 
18   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Infernal Dance of Kastchei's Subjects (Allegro feroce) 	 
19   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Berceuse 	
20   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Kastchei awakens 	
21   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Death of Kastchei 	
22   L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird): Scene III: The Palace and creatures of Kastchei disappear. The petrified knights come to life. General rejoicing 		 
23   Jeu de cartes: First Deal 	 
24   Jeu de cartes: Second Deal

Philharmonia Orchestra
Esa-Pekka Salonen - conductor


No one would guess from his baby face that Esa-Pekka Salonen is a hard-edged, tough-guy modernist who got his start conducting works by Magnus Lindberg, the enfant terrible of Finnish music. But it is true and his recording career is proof. Nowhere in his discography is there a note of Beethoven or Brahms. Even in so conservative a company as Sony, Salonen has become the resident modernist with discs dedicated to Bartók, Debussy, and Mahler (that's Sony's modernism). He has even amassed an amazing series of Stravinsky recordings since his Sony debut in 1988.

Salonen started with Stravinsky's first masterpiece, The Firebird. Rather than use Stravinsky's modest revision of the score, Salonen went back to the original 1910 version with its gargantuan orchestra of quadruple woodwinds, huge brass section plus a seven-piece brass band on-stage, an enormous percussion section that included bells, xylophone, celesta, and piano, plus three harps and 64 strings. Not that all this late-Romantic armament blunts the blade of Salonen's modernism. It only gives him more ammunition to aim at the work's Russian fairy tale heart.

Stravinsky later commented on The Firebird that "belongs to the style of its time." This is true as far as it goes. The use of diatonic folk-like melodies for humans and chromaticism for the supernatural does come out of Rimsky-Korsakov's late operas. But those are merely the work's point of origin. Under the right hands -- and Salonen's are the right hands -- numbers like "Fairy Carillon" and especially "Infernal Dance" become threats to musical complacency. Even such pretty little sound toys as the "Round Dances" and the "Lullaby" aren't exercises in late-Russian emotionality; in their own quiet way, they subvert the conventions of Romanticism through Stravinsky's nascent aesthetic of ironic stylization to distance the creator and, thus, the audience, from the creation. --- James Leonard, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Stravinsky Igor Mon, 26 Oct 2009 11:58:03 +0000